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Rules of Problem Solving

July 3, 2018 | Tips and Training

Is your dog naughty occasionally? Here are some Rules of Problem Solving to follow. Predict and prevent problems.

  • Set the dog up to be right: make sure he has adequate exercise, both physical and mental, and adequate company and attention.
  • Use gates, crates, exercise pens, tethering, closed doors, latched cupboards, etc., as necessary, (of course without damaging your dog’s quality of life (see above)) so your dog can’t choose wrong! Redirect the dog’s natural behaviors to an acceptable substitute.
  • Teach him How to greet (perhaps Sit & Shake), What to chew, Where to potty, etc, rather than punishing him when he guesses wrong. Reward behaviors you like.
  • Catch him being good. Praise him for lying quietly, chewing on his toy, going potty in the right place.  Don’t take good behavior for granted! If you follow the rules above, punishment is usally not necessary!

On the rare occasion that punishment is used it should be:

  • Done only at the time of the misbehavior,
  • Consistent. (That is, the dog gets the same response each and every time he engages in the problem behavior),
  • Should generally be a “negative punishment”, meaning a punishment in which we (briefly and contingently) take away something the dog values. So, for example, if the dog demand barks while you are prepping his dinner, you (temporarily) stop prepping! If he jumps on you when you step in the door, step back out.

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